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Welcoming Gene Kim

Renowned DevOps Visionary Joins XebiaLabs as Strategic Advisor

BankZ

BankZ Stays on Top With XebiaLabs Continuous Delivery Tools

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The Environment

  • Release Orchestration: XL Release
  • Release Deployment: XL Deploy
  • Continuous Integration: Jenkins
  • Source Control Management: GitHub, SVN
  • Infrastructure Management: Chef, Puppet
  • Change Management: JIRA, CA Agile (Rally)
  • Operations Management: ServiceNow

The Challenge

BankZ had been successful with their early Continuous Delivery initiatives to improve their software delivery process. After seeing results using Jenkins for continuous integration and XebiaLabs Deploy for their automated deployment processes, they knew pipeline orchestration was the next step. They looked to Jenkins to provide this functionality, since it was a tool familiar to their developers and widely used. But Jenkins failed to provide a scalable solution for enterprise release orchestration and o ered little value for non-technical business users. BankZ needed a pipeline orchestration tool that could provide reporting, metrics and analytics; enforce enterprise-grade controls; and be easy to maintain at large scale.

The Solution

BankZ chose XebiaLabs XL Release software to help with their next phase of Continuous Delivery. XebiaLabs software provided BankZ with easy to use tools for release orchestration, pipeline management and deployment automation. For the rst time ever, BankZ has visibility into release status, failures, and bottlenecks and 100% of the reporting they need to meet security, compliance and ROI requirements. They standardized the release process across pipelines regardless of application stacks. With XebiaLabs software, BankZ is now able to deliver software faster, with a repeatable and scalable process and within their tolerated level of risk.

For the rst time ever, BankZ has visibility into release status, failures, and bottlenecks and 100% of the reporting they need to meet security, compliance and ROI requirements.

Results: Pipeline Orchestration with XebiaLabs

  • 25,000+ release scripts were reduced down to 8 standardized release templates
  • Time required to deliver new functionality was reduced from an average of 6 months to 3 weeks
  • In the initial rollout, the team was able to release 60 applications in 3 weeks
  • Developers have produced hundreds of new features in the time it previously took to deliver less than a dozen features
  • XL Release is now managing pipelines for 900+ applications
  • Releases that took 8 hours minimum now complete in under 30 minutes on average, including veri cation checks
  • Releases are predictable and have 80% fewer failures

Digitize or Die

BankZ is in the same boat as all financial services companies. Evolve their digital business strategy quickly or lose customers to competitors that do. BankZ offers a host of financial services, from consumer banking, residential and commercial lending, to financial management and brokerage services. Customers want the freedom to choose when and how they interact with the bank – and they have more choices than ever. Keeping pace with consumer demands, maintaining legacy applications, and meeting internal business needs is a challenge for IT’s scarce resources.

Pressure is mounting to release software quickly, improve quality, and provide visibility for all team members. They need a reusable standard for releasing software across hundreds of applications, various deployment models and multiple continents. After seeing excellent results with continuous integration, deployment automation and automated testing initiatives, BankZ looked for a pipeline orchestration solution as the next step in their Continuous Delivery journey.

Where They Started: Jenkins

Developers at BankZ wanted to extend their use of Jenkins to help them manage and optimize their pipelines. BankZ’s DevOps leadership and release managers were skeptical, but the developers were confident that Jenkins could be leveraged to create and orchestrate application release pipelines. Twelve months, 240 developers and well over two million dollars later, they found themselves in an unexpected position.

What They Found: More Scripts, Less Scale

“As a tool for creating and orchestrating pipelines, Jenkins fell well short of our requirements” noted a DevOps Manager at BankZ. While it was technically possible for BankZ to use Jenkins to create release pipelines, it was not the out-of-the-box, scalable solution they needed. They had to write an endless number of custom scripts that were not standardized across pipelines, differed widely from one developer to another and forced creative developers to spend most of their time writing plumbing scripts instead of features.

Whenever something changed, developers had to change each script. As a consequence, they were failing in their primary goal to deliver applications to the market more quickly with an improved user experience. Jenkins was not the mature, enterprise-ready Continuous Delivery tool they needed. The Jenkins approach to Continuous Delivery did not scale, nor did it work for less technical team members. Release managers, for instance, may not be expert coders, but they do need visibility into real-time status of the entire release process. And bank leaders required status reporting and con rmation that their compliance and regulatory requirements were being met.

Re-evaluating the Requirements

BankZ decided to do a more formal assessment of their requirements for a pipeline orchestration tool. They found they needed a platform to orchestrate and automate their release pipelines, integrate seamlessly with tools already in place like Jenkins, Puppet and ServiceNow, provide out-of-the-box analytics and reporting, and work across their application stack from mainframes to Docker containers.

Another critical requirement was minimizing impact on their skilled developers. The bank wanted a solution for developers to simply check in code; then the platform would run the process through to production. Developers could spend their time innovating instead of plumbing.

BankZ’s Next Phase Pipeline Orchestration Requirements

  • Automation and advanced orchestration of their software release pipelines 
  • Dependency management of software release tasks
  • A tool that works for all users regardless of technical skills
  • Plug-in integrations with their existing tools, including Jenkins, GitHub, Chef,Puppet, and ServiceNow 
  • Clear visibility into releases progress, failures and bottlenecks 
  • Status dashboards, reporting, release metrics, and analytics
  • The enterprise level of control needed to meet compliance, security andquality requirements
  • Apps and new features delivered to market in days instead of months

Next Stop: XebiaLabs for Enterprise Continuous Delivery

BankZ was already using XebiaLabs XL Deploy software to automate their deployments and they were impressed by the results. XL Deploy’s model-based approach made deployments easy to set up, maintain and scale, and its structure helped them standardize their deployments across all pipelines and targets. XL Deploy also brought visual status dashboards and reporting to deployments, along with enterprise security and good support for compliance.

Determined to find a better fit for their next generation Continuous Delivery needs, BankZ approached XebiaLabs for a pipeline orchestration solution. They compared their evaluation of XebiaLabs to their results with Jenkins. Here’s what they found.

XebiaLabs’ pipeline management solution delivered capabilities around release automation, scalability, auditability and security. BankZ was relieved to leverage their other DevOps and business tools with XebiaLabs plug-in integrations. They were able to standardize their releases, automate release tasks, manage dependencies and scale those changes across their release pipelines. Customizable dashboards and insight features in XL helped BankZ share release status with other departments, see where bottlenecks or failures happened, and know when fixes worked. Reporting also showed systemwide data in charts and stats based on historical releases, helping management to understand how their teams were performing overall and where improvements could be made.

XebiaLabs software is designed to support enterprise-level security and auditability requirements. With XebiaLabs, all changes are automatically tracked in logs that provide data needed for audits. Teams get visibility into “who did what and when,” insight that was previously very difficult to attain. Role-based access control ensures only the right people have access to specific tasks. And BankZ’s security and compliance requirements are automatically enforced as part of the release process.

BankZ is a large enterprise with 13,500 employees in IT alone, and countless other non-IT employees with whom to collaborate. For them, a great experience was needed for all users, not just for coders. They found XL Release easy to use and learn for all teams. The ability to collaborate and communicate from one tool eased the anxiety of “what’s the status of my feature?” and “did that code work?”. They found Jenkins is purely focused on developers who think in code and doesn’t offer the flexible views (like table, calendar, and release planner) or rich dashboards that BankZ experienced with XebiaLabs.

With this data in hand, IT leadership was able to show their large developer community that XebiaLabs technology was the choice for enterprise Continuous Delivery, more specifically pipeline orchestration, and the perfect complement to Jenkins for Continuous Integration. They were able to get bottoms-up buy-in for using XebiaLabs software because developers saw releases moving faster and noticed improvements in quality. They also got time back to work on creative code that would solve business problems.

Today XL Release is managing pipelines for over 900 applications and the average application release that previously took 8 hours now takes 30 minutes. BankZ releases have become predictable and meet higher quality standards, with 80% fewer failures.

BankZ’s Results with XebiaLabs

We found XebiaLabs dramatically freed up our developers’ time because they were able to reduce tens of thousands of release-related scripts down to a handful of standardized release templates,” said the DevOps Manager.

BankZ was able to deploy applications almost 10 times faster and account for both automated and manual release steps. The 200+ developers, who initially objected to a new tool to use now felt relief from writing and maintaining release scripts. IT management was happy to put their skilled developers back onto their backlog of apps and features the business demanded.
“We manage almost 1000 applications across the bank. After adding XebiaLabs to our Jenkins process we now have full visibility into our application releases, we’re delivering features exponentially faster and our developers are back focused on innovation. With XebiaLabs, we achieved true scalability,” said the CTO at BankZ.

Once a standardized pipeline template was created, on-boarding apps became very simple and followed an established process. The bank was able to release new functionality in three weeks, down from six months. Developers have produced hundreds of new features in the time it previously took to deliver less than a dozen. Today XL Release is managing pipelines for over 900 applications and the average application release that previously took 8 hours now takes 30 minutes. BankZ releases have become predictable and meet higher quality standards, with 80% fewer failures.